Our team


Megan Kashner
Founder & CEO
Elizabeth Schwan-Rosenwald
Vice President, Partnerships
Venita E. Griffin
Marketing Manager
Aleca Tesseris Sullivan
Opportunities Manager


 

Samantha F. Brdek
Accounting & Finance
Emily Brittain
Operations and Project Manager

Lindsay Rosenfeld

Development & Programs Coordinator


 

 

   
 
   


Megan Kashner

Founder & CEO

LinkedIn Profile

megan at benevolent.net

For over 20 years Megan Kashner, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, walked alongside low-income families, creating relationships, programs and supports that would help people reach their goals and provide a sound future for their children. When she woke up on February 13, 2011 with the idea of Benevolent she saw a solution that had the potential not only to plug the gaps for families and support their pursuit of personal goals, but to introduce a new perspective on the experiences of low-income Americans who had for too long been publicly denigrated. Read more…


Elizabeth Schwan-Rosenwald

Vice President, Partnerships

LinkedIn Profile

elizabeth at benevolent.net

Elizabeth oversees Benevolent's partnership strategy, working to develop strategic collaborations with nonprofits, individuals, foundations, and corporations that drive organizational growth and impact. She comes to Benevolent with over 15 years of nonprofit experience in organizational strategy, leadership, and partnership and business development.


Prior to joining Benevolent, Elizabeth worked with the Taproot Foundation serving as both the Executive Director for Chicago and the Director of National Partnerships (and a few other roles!) She has also worked with the Chicago Chamber Musicians, Center on Halsted, and Lookingglass Theatre. Previously, she founded 20% Theatre, an all women's company dedicated to addressing the inequity of women in positions of power in theatre. She served as Artistic and Producing Director of the company from 2003-2010. She holds a BA from Smith College in English and Theatre.


A New Englander permanently transplanted to Chicago, Elizabeth and her wife Katie live with their daughter, 3 cats, and one very energetic dog in West Humboldt Park and spend much of their time wondering if a 30 hour day is possible and/or searching out the nearest playground.


Aleca Tesseris Sullivan

Opportunities Manager

LinkedIn Profile

aleca at benevolent.net

Aleca brings over 25 years of experience in economic development and community outreach experience to Benevolent, crossing the private, nonprofit and government sectors. She has worked in management consulting for private firms both in the United States and abroad, spent several interesting years working for the National Park Service and most recently completed a decade of very fulfilling work in education and community building. Aleca earned her Masters Degree from Boston University in American Studies and Preservation Planning. She earned her BA in economics from the University of Michigan. She is the mother of three wonderful children and one very enthusiastic puppy.

Samantha F. Brdek

Accounting & Finance

LinkedIn Profile

samantha at benevolent.net

Samantha ensures that our clients are able to get the money they need to improve their lives and that Benevolent has the ability to help as many people as possible for many years to come. She received her Masters Degree in Accounting from DePaul University and is a member of the Illinois Certified Public Accountants Society. For the past five tax seasons Samantha has volunteered to help senior citizens complete and feel more confident about their taxes. Before becoming an accountant Samantha had the opportunity to travel to India where she taught English and Math to orphans and underprivileged children. She currently spends her free time with her child, reading, biking around Ann Arbor, MI, and working in her yard.


Venita E. Griffin

Marketing Manager

LinkedIn Profile

venita at benevolent.net

Venita is responsible for Benevolent's off- and online marketing  communications efforts.  In addition to overseeing our strategic marketing, she manages and oversees media partnerships and sponsorships, social media and more.


She is an award-winning professional with 10+ years’ experience in both the nonprofit and corporate sectors and has managed large-scale projects for American Airlines, Telepictures Productions and more.


A football fanatic, she can be found loudly rooting for her hometown team - the New Orleans Saints - during the NFL season.


Emily Brittain

Operations and Project Manager

LinkedIn Profile

emily at benevolent.net

Emily manages Benevolent's operations and project implementation. She has extensive experience in youth development, customer relations and community partnership building, as well as technological troubleshooting. Before moving to Chicago, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Armenia. Emily earned her Bachelor's from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL and her Master's from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, with a focus on community planning, organizing, and development. Emily enjoys hiking, riding her bike, and spending time with a good book.



Lindsay Rosenfeld

Development & Programs Coordinator

LinkedIn Profile

lindsay at benevolent.net

Docked in Chicago via North Carolina, Lindsay joined the Benevolent team in 2013 through New Sector Alliance's Residency in Social Enterprise, an 11-month fellowship designed to develop emerging professionals in the social impact sector. After spending her residency digging her heels into Benevolent’s operations, Lindsay’s excited to build the future of giving through cross-sector collaboration as the Relationship Coordinator. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Anthropology and Global Studies, she brings to the team experience in crisis intervention and equine therapy, oral history and visual storytelling, makeshift bicycle repairs, extraneous commas, well-loved plants, and an insatiable hunger for better questions and unkempt tacos.